Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44)
The resurrection of Lazarus is an amazing event in the Bible, occurring only days before Christ’s own crucifixion, it was a stark message to His followers of the day of what was going to come soon for Him, and indeed His promise for all of them as well…but many missed that hint. Today this reminder is no less relevant, His and our resurrections are real. Found in Him, we arise to eternal life.
And yet, there is a strong sense Christ is speaking through the story of Lazarus as a prophetic word to the church today, particularly those caught in what has become a place of death, as many churches dwindle due to their season or departure from God. It is also a message to those dying churches. Christ is coming, and He is speaking to you, “Arise, come forth, for I give you new life”. He calls to the servants of the church to “loose the binds that have restricted life”. He breathes new life in to your souls to cause you to arise up afresh. With a loud shout He calls you out of the dying churches you have been caught in, and says to the dead church, “I have rolled away the stone, I give you new life, come out, no longer hide in shame or despair, break free of your constraints, and embrace the new”.
Some have heard this voice of Christ, and new life has come to their whole being. Feeling renewed, with a fresh passion for Jesus, they are brimming with expectation. And yet, you find yourself in the place where only dead religion gathers, a dying church waiting to disappear. God says, “Come forth”, for you are to leave that place of darkness. Believing friends, and angelic hosts, are called to help you be free of the religious ways the have bound you up, so you can come to the table of the Lord and feed afresh on His word, be filled with His Spirit and hope, to know and give His love, and to live in His freedom.
To the faithful intercessors and servants who have watched on to see their brother die, He says, “Believe, I am the Resurrection and the Life. Though I have tarried, it has been for the glory of God, and now I come. Open your hearts, roll away the stones, and believe, for with a shout of My word, and the power of My name, I can cause the dead to arise. Only believe.” Be encouraged, Lazarus’ name means ‘God has helped’, and this help does come to the dead today.
For your prayerful testing with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is time for the sons and daughters to arise.